Next up for HIV prevention testing: Viiv's Selzentry
Truvada may have been the first HIV fighter to be approved for prevention, but it may not be the last. Already, the National Institutes of Health has announced a study for another drug, Selzentry.
Sold by the ViiV Healthcare joint venture between GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Pfizer ($PFE), Selzentry will be tested in three drug combinations and compared with Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences ($GILD). Patients will be gay and bisexual men not infected with HIV. The aim of the study is to determine whether Selzentry is safe and well-tolerated by patients, and is a necessary precursor to testing for efficacy.
The Selzentry study is aimed at a couple of remaining concerns about preventive use of HIV drugs. FDA gave its blessing to Truvada as a prevention tool earlier this week, but critics said the approval could end up fostering drug-resistant strains of the virus. Plus, as The Wall Street Journal points out, the study investigators said they're also concerned about Truvada's safety risks.
So far, Selzentry hasn't been much associated with drug resistance, perhaps because it inhibits infection by making cells less vulnerable. Truvada works by inhibiting the virus's ability to replicate.